Interview with Joanna Bark and Elena Ekström, founders of Bukvy

I recently came across Bukvy, an accessories brand that is all about making the perfect practical bag for everyday use.

I was so taken by their designs that I had to know more. After all, it’s not every day that you see a 5-in-1 bag that is like a fashion transformer. So I talked with Joanna Bark and Elena Ekström, founders of the Bukvy brand, to find out more about this independent female-led label.

Can you please introduce yourselves to our readers?

Bukvy is a Stockholm based brand creating multi-functional and timeless bags and accessories for women. We are a female-founded, female-owned, and female-led brand with a focus on the intelligent city woman. And how to make her everyday life smarter!

Did you have experience in fashion and design when starting your label?

Absolutely not and that is a good thing! We cherish good design, are interested in how to become better consumers and adding value to our people.  Our backgrounds are in architecture and IT. These are both creative in separate ways, where we have worked with problem-solving without a map. That is also where we consider ourselves today. Sometimes we describe us and Bukvy as working in construction; our focus is on functionality and timeless aesthetics. We work a lot and we love to!

How would you describe your brand BUKVY in 3 words?

Functionality. Timelessness. Consciousness.

How did you first get the idea of creating the 5-in-1 bag?

When the idea was born, we both led busy big city lives: active jobs, long-distance relationships, many things to do in one day and just too many things to carry. We both frequently had the experience of bags making our lives more complicated. That is not how it should be and we just decided that we could do better. We started with creating a 10-in-1 bag for fun. It looked ridiculous but when we had worked with killing our darlings and to get to the bottom with our everyday life vision the Bo Bardi 5-in-1 bag came to life. 

How long did it take you from your initial idea to creating a functioning prototype?

It took us over a year. It sounds like a lot, but we were in no hurry.

As a slow fashion brand, what steps are you taking towards sustainability?

Everything we do and breath includes ethics and sustainability. The last thing the world needs is another bag brand. We want to create items for our woman so that she will never need another bag in her life. Our top three values are: 

All production is within the EU. That includes animals, tanning and the studios work. We secure relevant certificates to ensure that we don’t damage our environment nor the people working in the process.

Longevity. One of the most important things we can do to lower our environmental footprint is to create long-lasting things and support our customers in the process of consuming fewer things and take care of the things we have already got. 

By creating great design, we want to influence people on consciousness consumption. Our bags can be worn on all occasions. The bags have detachable straps, straps are often what breaks first, but on your Bukvy bag, you can just exchange the strap, or add a new version if you want a new look. 

How is it working with your childhood friend?

It is a bliss. As with all great relationships we’ve been through hard times but that is also what makes us stronger. Just imagine going to work, doing what you love together with one of the most important people in your life.

Together we have created our own space where we can absorb all our creativity, improve people’s everyday lives and be part of the new slow fashion way in this industry. We have invented our childhood dream that we never planned for.

At some point, you turned to crowdfunding to get capital for your brand. What made you choose that way instead of finding some investors and how was your experience with it?

In 2017 we ran into a beautiful Italian vegetable-tanned leather. We had been trying to start producing an organic collection, but we found no qualified tanneries that could deliver within our capacity. This leather was stuck in our heads and we figured that it would be in others’ heads too if we just had a way to introduce it to them.  We value to be self-funded. We want all decisions to follow our personal values and we don’t do short cuts regarding environmental questions or human exploitation. As it looks today being 100% self-funded is our best way of establishing that for us and our customers. Therefore, we decided to include our customers in the process which was a truly beautiful experience. We would love to do it again!


What is the best and the worst side of running your own business?

The worst side is that we are never satisfied and that everything is up to the two of us. 

The best side is that we have been able to create our own space where we can do things, we believe in together with people we trust and love. And to work with something important where we as a brand can truly make a difference. 

Where do you see BUKVY in 5 years from now?

Hopefully, Bukvy is exactly the same as today but with a bigger impact. An honest, friendly and smart brand with a close and trustful customer relationship. 

Follow Bukvy on Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates.


Ivona Josipovic

Ivona Josipovic is a co-founder of The Smoke Detector, writer, fashion stylist, social media manager, curious creature, chocolate lover.

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